“Okay”, Sharanya stoically absorbed the news.
“But don’t worry”, he continued. “It can be corrected by following a course of treatment and surgery. She will be fine. But for now, we must take her to another hospital to be admitted in a neo-natal care unit, just to check for jaundice or any other issues.
Apparently, there’s none but it’s always better to confirm. I’m sorry you will have to wait here for a few more days, before you can have her with you.”
“Can I visit her Doctor?” Ananya asked doubtfully.
“Of course, why not? But not now. Maybe after two days because you have just been operated and you will need to sufficiently recover. It will take at least a day for you to pull yourself up on your feet. There’s nothing wrong with her other than what I have told you and she will be fine.”, he said in a re-assuring tone.
“Will she be able to walk? Will there be a limp? Will she lead a normal life? What is the prognosis of this defect in the long run?”, Sharanya wanted to badger him with several questions but, for the time being refrained, just in case he decides not to answer all of them at once, considering her present condition lest she might not be able to digest too much of bad news. Besides, she had full faith in these two doctors. They would never mislead her. Therefore, she did not want to give out an impression of being frantic. But, in her mind, she was seriously concerned. Now that things had turned out this way, she had no choice but to face it head-on and take charge of the situation. And if they had to emerge out of it with at least a fair amount of success, they had to do their best, while maintaining an objective outlook, for which they would also require immense guidance and support from her doctors. So, reacting negatively was not going to help the situation.
“There she is”, declared Mrs. Shah, as she brought the baby, all cleaned and dressed. Sharanya craned out her neck to catch a good glimpse of her new born and the moment she set her eyes upon her daughter, something magnificent stirred within her. “Ethereal” was the only word that came out for she was indeed a very beautiful baby. And as they laid her down beside for a few minutes, Sharanya could feel some powerful overwhelming emotion choking her chest that could be neither identified nor explained. Motherhood, after all, was a brand-new experience for her and a long-cherished dream, finally fulfilled.
On one hand, Sharanya felt happy because finally, she had her very own little one in her arms, whom she could dote and shower all her love and affection upon. But at the same time, she was unsure because Ananya was born differently abled, with an anomaly that they had never seen nor heard of before. She had no idea of how she was going to handle the situation after their discharge, what would Ananya’s needs be or the kind of help they would require. But all this was certainly better than the hollow emptiness that she had been living with all these years. At least now she had something to look forward to.
She made up her mind. She would certainly go to any lengths for this little one who has arrived into their world, choosing them as her parents. She will do everything possible to ensure that she does not fail Ananya in anyway, as her mother. She will not harbour any feelings of disappointment in her heart as far as Ananya was concerned, nor will she allow any regrets to enter her baby. She will always make sure Ananya stays positive and happy and raise her to be so, irrespective of the successs they attain. ‘Bright’ is how Ananya will look and ‘Bright’ is how Ananya would always feel and be known as. They will be the best parents and would try to justify this command of almighty, as honestly as possible, she resolved to herself. She very much wanted to hold Ananya but with her sutures fresh, she couldn’t bring herself to make that effort. So, she decided to just silently savour the moment of being together.
After some time, Ananya was taken away while Sharanya was lifted onto a stretcher and wheeled out towards their private ward. Karthik was sauntering in the corridor, waiting for her. As soon as he saw her, he smiled and came forward to place a kiss on her cheeks, oblivious to everyone around. After all, she had gone through so much to bring their little Ananya into the world. His love and respect for her had risen multi-fold. Their relationship radiated tenderness, commitment and solidarity even at a moment, when destiny had ditched them by conferring an unprecedented outcome.
Once inside their ward, she was lifted and made to lie down on the bed, the drips were adjusted, to which more pain killers were added. The medications made her feel slightly fuddled and when she tried to speak, Karthik silenced her by asking her to rest and sleep. But sleep was elusive with all these unforeseen developments and Sharanya’s consciousness only got better and she awakened.
“Did you see the baby?”, she asked him.
Karthik who was talking to her mom, turned around and said “Yes, what a beautiful baby na? I have never seen a child cuter than her”, he smiled happily.
“But doctors mentioned she has a problem”, she added.
“Yes, I know but they also said that it can be corrected.”, he replied lightly. “We’ll see what to do about that. After all, it’s only her that we have now”, he said, getting a little emotional. “But did you get a chance to see her properly?”, he asked her.
“Yes, they did show her to me briefly.”
“Wait a minute”, he said and went out. He began calling the doctors urging them to show the baby to Sharanya again before they took to her to the NICU. He wanted his wife to be not deprived of that moment.
The baby was brought in and Sharanya was once again thrilled to be with her little bundle of joy, after which Ananya was speedily taken away.
Yes, ultimately, they had been blessed…but not in the way they had anticipated for or anyone would, for that matter…their blessing had arrived with some special needs that demanded real hard and intelligent work in many ways, besides a huge expenditure in the oncoming years, to bring their child at least close to normalcy. Yet, normalcy was likely remain a question mark. It was only now that they could realise that ‘Normal’, a term, so hugely undervalued and misprized by the ones who easily are, was so ‘high-priced’ for those who had missed that mark.
They were aware that this kind of news was enough to rock anyone’s world but somehow, at this moment, both found themselves, filled with a power of fortitude, to let anything affect them. Or were they only denying it? They were yet to know that. But both felt totally lost, as the next course of action was unknown to them. Also, no precedence was available in their family or social circle to fall back on. They had no idea where to begin. “We’ll strive our best, under the guidance of doctors and do whatever is right for Ananya, leaving things in the hands of almighty” was only what they could keep telling each other, giving mutual solace, while waiting for the doctors to come back with more updates on their little one. They had decided to accept the situation with the hope and prayer that everything will be eventually remedied.
….To be continued in Part III….Link to – Part III